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Top Work-Related Injuries and Tips from Parker Physical Therapy to Avoid Them


May 9, 2018

The workplace is where people on average spend eight hours of their day. Whether you have a labor-intensive job or one in an office, dangers are everywhere. Each has possible situations that can lead to an injury. As an employee, it is best to ensure you are using the proper form and technique at your job. You should also know proper safety protocols and enforce them throughout your day. Use these tips from Parker physical therapy to ensure your safety at work.

Slips and Falls

Workplace slips and falls can account for 10 to 15 percent of work-related injuries each year. Some of these falls create injuries while others can actually be life-threatening. One of the most common reasons for slips and falls is water or slippery substances that have not been cleaned. Other reasons can include improper lighting, clutter or cords in walkways, or improper shoes.

The best way to ensure you and fellow employees stay safe in the workplace is to keep walkways and workspaces clean of any debris or clutter. This can be anything from boxes and cords to drawers and work supplies. All areas must be well lit for workers to see where they are going and working. Anti-slip mats are great to keep in workspaces such as restaurants or warehouses. These can also help reduce fatigue for those who are on their feet throughout the day. Proper anti-slip shoes are also important in environments where water or other liquids are more likely to be on the floor. Be sure those spills are cleaned as quickly as possible.

Machine Misuse or Malfunction

Millions of workers are injured each year to machine malfunction or misuse. Common injuries include electrocution, bodily injuries such as getting a body part caught in a machine or scrapes, cuts, and slices due to improper workplace protection. Also, improper or broken safeguards can lead to injury as well.

Ensure you are safe in the workplace by knowing the rules and protocols for the machinery you use. Proper safeguards should be in working condition. If not, notify the appropriate persons immediately to ensure they are fixed. It is also important to know proper posture and form when standing and handling your machine, as repetition in improper form can lead to injury. When handling machines, you must use your protective gear. This includes hard hats, glasses, gloves, suits or shoes.

Hazardous Materials

Injuries due to hazardous materials or chemicals in the workplace can be detrimental. When exposed to dangerous chemicals, employees can experience burns or on internal injuries. Depending on the hazardous item, internal or external injuries occur. In result, a person may experience nausea or vomiting, fevers, heart issues, burning eyes, and more. Some work environments may also expose a person to asbestos. It is important to know what is asbestos to ensure you do not come into contact with it, and how to properly protect yourself if you think you will.

Since coming into contact with hazardous materials can have detrimental lifelong effects, always follow proper protocol when around items. If you experience a chemical burn, call 911 or go to a hospital immediately. In the meantime, for most chemical burns put cool water over on the injury but ensure it is only on the affected area. It is possible for chemicals to travel and make the injury even worse. Do this for several minutes (10 to 20). Not all chemical burns are alike, so it is important to be knowledgeable about the items you are working with.

Sprains and Strains

It may come as no surprise that sprains and strains are the most common workplace injury. Sprains are when ligaments are stretched or torn, and strains are when muscles or tendons are stretched or torn. Ligaments are the tissues that connect bones or joints. While a majority of these injuries happen in one’s back, it is also common in knees, shoulders, and feet. Common reasons for these injuries include poor workplace posture, repetitive motions or force.

Avoid workplace strains and sprains by using proper form at all times. Ergonomics are important, which is a safe and efficient environment. Not only will this make the workplace easier to work in but will also reduce injury. Overexerting oneself is also another common reason for sprains and strains. Avoid pushing yourself too hard or improperly when it comes to pulling, lifting or carrying items.

Repetitive Processes

Repetitive motions are another leading contributor to the overall number of workplace injuries. Each year, millions experience repetition-related injuries. They occur when a person is in the same form repeating the same motions day in and day out. When a person uses the same body part frequently, the area can become overused and injuries are more likely. It can happen from using a machine throughout a day or sitting at a desk and working at a computer.

Avoid repetition injuries by mixing up your routine. First and foremost, practice stretching. This will help to strengthen the area. Next, ensure you have proper form and posture. A person is more likely to become injured when performing repetitious activities with poor form. When working at a desk, ensure you have an ergonomic workspace. This can include having a chair that aids in proper posture and ensuring your arms are supported so you do not hurt your shoulders. Monitors should be an arms-length away at eye level. If you use a phone throughout the day, consider a wireless headset so you do not tilt your head to the side. Also, be sure to take breaks. This will help reduce eye strain and help you avoid repetition-related injuries.

When it comes to workplace injuries, Peak Physical Therapy and Wellness has proactive and reactive services to ensure your health and safety. We can work with you to help you avoid injuries and work with you on a speedy recovery after one. Take advantage of our pre-employment screening to have a review of a workplace and contact us to see how we can assist. Our team of experts will help you learn proper form and posture to help you work more efficiently and pain-free.